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Abstract (from http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/WCAS-D-15-0042.1): Drought is a natural part of the historical climate variability in the northern Rocky Mountains and high plains region of the United States. However, recent drought impacts and climate change projections have increased the need for a systematized way to document and understand drought in a manner that is meaningful to public land and resource managers. The purpose of this exploratory study was to characterize the ways in which some federal and tribal natural resource managers experienced and dealt with drought on lands managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and tribes in two case site examples (northwest Colorado and southwest...
High-temporal resolution meteorological output from the Parallel Climate Model (PCM) is used to assess changes in wildland fire danger across the western United States due to climatic changes projected in the 21st century. A business-as-usual scenario incorporating changing greenhouse gas and aerosol concentrations until the year 2089 is compared to a 1975 - 1996 base period. Changes in relative humidity, especially drying over much of the West, are projected to increase the number of days of high fire danger ( based on the energy release component (ERC) index) at least through the year 2089 in comparison to the base period. The regions most affected are the northern Rockies, Great Basin and the Southwest - regions...
Based on the practical experience in design and operation of three full-scale membrane bioreactors (MBR) for municipal wastewater treatment that were commissioned since 1999, an overview on the different design concepts that were applied to the three MBR plants is given. The investment costs and the energy consumption of the MBRs and conventional activated sludge (CAS) plants (with and without tertiary treatment) in the Erft river region are compared. It is found that the specific investment costs of the MBR plants are lower than those of comparable CAS with tertiary treatment. A comparison of the specific energy demand of MBRs and conventional WWTPs is given. The structure of the MBRs actual operational costs is...
In response to the ongoing climate policy debates, this study examines the cost impacts of carbon-pricing legislation on selected US energy-intensive manufacturing industries. Specifically, it evaluates output-based rebate measures and the border adjustment provision specified in the bill, and tests the effectiveness of cost containment features of the policy, such as the international offsets, under various market assumptions. Results of the examination confirm that in all policy cases or industries, the output-based rebates would effectively mitigate the manufacturers' carbon-pricing costs in the short-to-medium term. However as the rebates decline after 2020, especially in a case where low-carbon electricity...
By replacing fossil fuels bioenergy has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but indirect effects might partly or even completely eliminate this benefit. Production of bio-energy products, such as biofuels for transport, causes several indirect effects through their interactions with the global economic and physical systems. Indirect land-use change leads to GHG emissions – in some cases in the same order of magnitude as the fossil emissions – and loss of nature, but there are other relevant indirect effects as well. Intensification of agricultural production is another indirect effect and could be stimulated more to minimise the undesirable land conversion. However, intensification through increased...
On the question of whether natural resources are a curse for growth, the jury is still out. While waiting for a decision, we study whether resource intensity has any effect on social development over and above the effect it might have on income or growth. We measure social development by a combination of health and education outcomes and resource intensity by the share of primary commodities in total merchandise exports. We find that, after controlling for per-capita income and other macroeconomic and institutional factors, a higher dependence on primary commodity exports is negative for social development. The transmission mechanism seems to operate via income inequality and macroeconomic volatility.
Abandoned mine land (AML) is one of the legacies of historic mining activities, causing a wide range of environmental problems worldwide. A stream monitoring study was conducted for a period of 7 years to evaluate the water quality trend in a Mid-Appalachian watershed, which was heavily impacted by past coal mining and subsequently reclaimed by reforestation and revegetation. GIS tools and multivariate statistical analyses were applied to characterize land cover, to assess temporal trends of the stream conditions, and to examine the linkages between water quality and land cover. In the entire watershed, 15.8% of the land was designated as AML reclaimed by reforestation (4.9%) and revegetation (10.8%). Statistic...